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Still confused about what an NVQ Level 3 is equal to? Or what’s similar to a Foundation Degree? Don’t worry, our comparison chart explains how each qualification type matches up. You can use it to plan your route through education and towards employment.

If you have any questions, talk to Student Services.

Course comparison chart showing the level of higher education and its equivalent qualification type


The comparison chart shows each higher education level from 1 (foundation level) to 8 (higher education level) and its equivalent qualification type (e.g.GCE, BTEC, and HND).


The values presented on the image are as follows:

Qualification Type Qualification Name Equivalent Higher education Level
GCE GCSE D-F 1 - Foundation
  GCSE A-C 2 - Intermediate
  1 full A level (achieved by completing AS and A2) 3 - Advanced
BTEC Diploma 2 - Intermediate
  Diploma plus an extended diploma 3 - Advanced
CACHE Diploma 3 - Advanced
NVQ & VRQ Level 2 2 - Intermediate
  Level 3 and Level 4 3 - Advanced
Access to HE Diploma 3 - Advanced
HNC & HND HNC Level 4 - Higher Education
  HND Level 5 - Higher Education
Foundation Degree Foundation Degree Level 5 - Higher Education
Degrees Diploma Level 6 - Higher Education
  Masters Level 7 - Higher Education
  Doctorate Level 8 - Higher Education


The comparison chart shows the higher education level on the y-axis starting from level 1 at the bottom and rising to level 8 at the top. Level 1 is described as the foundation level, level 2 is described as the Intermediate level, level 3 is described as the advanced level and levels 4 - 8 are described as the higher education levels. The equivalent qualification types are listed on the x-axis at the top of the chart starting with the qualifications with equivalent levels between 1-3 e.g. GCE and ending with the more advanced qualifications with equivalent levels between 4-8 e.g. Degrees.

Did you Know..?

  • If you complete a Level 2 Diploma this is equal to five GCSEs grade A-C.
  • If you haven't already got a GCSE in maths and English then you have another chance - there will be space in your timetable to work towards these qualifications.
  • Level 2 Functional Skills in maths and English are equal to a C Grade or above at GCSE.
  • If you complete a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma with three Distinctions this is worth 144 UCAS points.



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We guide any ambitious and motivated person on their journey through education and their career, by providing the right environment that encourages and nurtures individual talents.

Our industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching team provide our students with the skills businesses truly need.

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90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
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We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great Learning Mentor scheme.